THE RIDE: Four-door, up to eight-passenger 2008 Infiniti QX56 4WD full-size SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: Restyled for 2008 inside and out, the QX56 retains the same 5.6-liter powertrain as its predecessor. Offered in two trims - two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive - the SUV sits on a fully boxed steel frame. The massive vehicle offers superb balance and stability while carrying passengers to their destination in style.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A throbbing 5.6-liter DOHC V-8 engine pumps 320 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 393 pounds-feet of torque at 3400 rpm. It is mated to a responsive 5-speed gated-floor automatic transmission. A double-wishbone front and an independent multilink rear suspension isolate occupants from rough road surfaces and maintain balance. A power rack-and-pinion steering system conveys an admirable on-center feel and offers excellent feedback to the driver in the 5,000-pound plus SUV. Heading out to the water? Hook the sailboat to the QX56, which can tow up to 8,900 pounds.
LOOK & FEEL: A huge chrome waterfall-style grille surrounded by horizontal xenon HID headlights catches your eye when you approach the restyled front fascia of the QX56. Chrome appears to play a major role in the exterior of the SUV, noticeable on the power-folding sideview mirrors, front door handles, body-side moldings, revised one-piece roof rack and the 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Peek inside the cabin and you will find that the instruments and gauges clearly and logically are laid out. New for 2008 are a power-folding 60/40-split third-row seat, wood grain accent, one-touch moonroof and illuminated steering wheel controls. The traditional Infiniti analog clock on the dashboard with audio, climate and navigation controls atop is eye-catching. You can store precious belongings in the lockable center console or glovebox.
SAFETY FIRST: The key standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain for all three rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, Vehicle Dynamic Control, three-point seat belts for all rows, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights, front-seat belts with pretensioners, front and rear stabilizer bars and crumple zones.
OUT THE DOOR: $55,250, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. Opt for the $1,700 mobile entertainment package, which comes with an 8-inch DVD display, front console-mounted DVD player, wireless remote and two wireless headphones.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 265/60R20 BSW Michelin; wheelbase, 123.2 inches; length, 206.9 inches; weight, 5,903 pounds; fuel capacity, 28 gallons; highway, 17 mpg; city, 12 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Full-size SUV buyers, especially those who carry children around or haul their boat, should take a closer look at the restyled QX56. A powerful engine, enormous towing potential and spacious interior shout for the potential buyer to take a test-drive at the nearest dealer. After the purchase, you will drive away in style, I can assure you.